As Barry Bonds goes to finally break the record this weekend, we hark back to the only real revelatory moment of this "chase:" Greg Maddux's performance against Bonds on Friday night.
Maddux had been joking the whole week before about how he the best way to pitch to Bonds was, "you just walk him. I mean, it's not that hard to throw four a couple of feet outside." But Greg Maddux didn't become Greg Maddux by not being rabidly competitive, and he went after Bonds all four times, forcing him to go 0-for-4. And he did it in that confounding, elliptical Maddux way that we've all admired for decades.
Whatever your thoughts on Bonds and the legitimacy of his record, this was a moment to revel in: A Hall of Fame pitcher, in the last days of career, testing what he had left against another Hall of Famer. And despite history glaring at him, he took Bonds four times. For all the other clutter, it was a pure baseball moment. It reminded us how much we love Maddux, and baseball.
We do not expect such moments from John Lannan tonight. No offense, John.
Bonds Picks On Somebody His Own Size [Newsday]